This blog follows on from Part 1
The healing of trauma is primarily a biological, bodily process not a psychological one. We lose connection with our bodies, our instinct and intuition in trauma. And so the most successful healing methods are those that involve the body. Those methods that dont enable people to connect to their bodies have limited, if any, success. Our medical and healthcare system still does not recognise this fully. Many of us bounce from GPs to CBT or “other talk therapy” to drugs years before realising that its just not going to to work. It may help for limited periods but its not a long-term solution. And medical drugs have their place but often they just numb our response to life, all aspects of life. And yet there is absolutely a long term solution. You can heal from trauma.
Often though, the healing process is a labyrinth. So many dead ends, so many lifetimes spent feeling like you are wandering aimlessly, utterly lost. It may take a while. You may have to explore a little. You may need different modalities, including medical care. But eventually it will be apparent that you have to take back control of your health away from the medical community and back into your own hands. You will have to become your own body-detective . You will have to look outside of the conventional health care service…but you can and absolutely will find a modality that you can connect with and a style of life that you adapt to and there you will heal.
When it comes to trauma no two people are alike. The response of an individual to traumatic events or to a series of less traumatic events over a number of years will look completely different. These are often subtle, less obvious reactions like pain in various parts of the body, nervousness, IBS, migraines, easily overwhelmed with everyday events,social anxieties and so on.There are many factors involved in the response to threat or challenge which could include the individuals history of trauma, family dynamics, support, even genetic make-up. With this in mind, it follows that every persons recovery will look different.
I mentioned some alternative modalities you could seek out in the last blog on trauma.
Some of those therapies are alternative. But if there is one thing trauma survivors become good at when we are determined to heal is trying new things. Doing weird and wonderful stuff…repeating it so that it goes from feeling awkward and silly at first to deeply therapeautic and totally liberating . Dance, holotropic breathwork, weird tapping, chanting, energy healing …whatever!!
And another thing trauma survivors excel at is cultivating strong daily habits. We recognise that healing is a lifetimes journey…emotional , physical and spiritual. And we honour that. We have awoken to a deeper meaning of life. And we gratefully accept that it is our simple daily routines that help keep us healthy, thriving and able to reach our full potential.
These habits will always include some form of self-reflection, deeper learning, and awareness of the somatic body, making moments of stillness for body and mind and finding pleasure in simple things. By calming our nervous system we teach our body that we are safe. For some people this may actually be enough to reprogram, we may never need to seek therapy elsewhere. But often those suffering more severe adverse childhood experiences (abuse and neglect etc) will not even have a reference point of “feeling safe” and that is why the jouney is a long one.
Some steps that we can start from now:
Learning about PTSD , CPTSD and ACEs
For me this was THE most important thing to enable a huge leap forward in progress. Mainstream doctors, GPs, even psychiatrists and psychologists are brilliant but DO NOT just give them charge of your mental health. Many are limited by constraints of their regulatory bodies. If you are lucky you will find therapists that offer alternative therapies. But at the end of the day it is our own responsibilty to find out as much as we can about trauma.
Learn from the most progressive genius minds in the field. Learn holistically. We are absolutely blessed to have the internet. If we did not have this resource we would still be at the mercy of a small privilidged section of society …medics with a God complex! Please note: I have respect for all professionals in the field of health but its important to acknowledge our failures and limitations of the past
Try new things that resonate with you and be open to the experience, without expectation or judgement. Just embrace the experience. Learn yoga, EMDR,meditation, sound healing, trauma release exercises, inner child work, past life regression, hypnosis, dance …find classes that are trauma-informed, read books and articles. My favourites are by
When the body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection by Gabor Mate
The Body keeps the Score: Bessel Van Der Kolk
Complex PTSD From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker
The Courage to Heal by Emma Bass and Laura Davis
The Biology of Beliefs by Bruce Lipton
Breaking the habit of Being Yourself by Jo Dispenza
Layers of Support
Many of us have issues with isolating ourselves and not connecting with others and yet there remains a deep yearning for connection. After all we humans are wired for connection. But the traumatised brain is a changed brain. It does not function in a “normal” way
The healing journey is long. We all need support. Start to build up networks. Just start with one person if you are alone. Family members, supportive friends, local groups of other survivors, professionals, othe communities are all safety nets for us to keep us afloat
Awareness of Triggers
Learn about your triggers. After being out at a social occasion where there are a lot of people (lots of ego!) …even one that I have enjoyed, I know I will have odd feelings of sadness…deep, visceral…from where it comes I know not … and I have no control over it.
But I do know that by limiting social interaction, or larger events, over the next few weeks I can recover quickly without great inconvenience.
So I just say no politely to certain events that I know will trigger and space them out as and when I feel its worth it. I am not missing out on anything . FOMO is a construct of this fear-based way of life we have set up. Its a symptom of a world on Sympatheic Flight or Fight!
Similarly, find your own patterns, understand them, accept them, be kind to yourself and put in the measures required.
This really is a must!
Our bodies have lived in Flight or Fight mode for so long and in fact its the default. So we MUST fill our tanks first. This is not selfish, neither is it complicated. Simple things are the key, simple ways to recharge.
Start small. It doesnt matter what it is just focus on consistency. Every day, little things build up to form a raft beneath us to keep us afloat.
Focus on real natural wholesome foods
Move well…dance, yoga, swim …whatever do simple and joyful movement
Strengthen…you don’t have to look like a bodybuilder, but it is SO important to maintain our muscular integrity. So do bodyweight exercises, use bands, push and pull, dumbbells…whatever but do get stronger.
10 minutes breathing practice in the morning or evening
Prayer. Get in touch with The Divine. With something greater than you.
Walk in Nature. Nature is going to be so utterly vital in the next few years for our wellbeing. It always has been abundant in giving us answers to our troubles but for centuries we in the West got lost and forgot.
Relaxation work and Meditation. Cultivate stillness in the day
Breathwork. Breath is the connection between your concsious body and your soul, between the physical world and the Divine. Learn it…Do it!
Create a New You
Surviving Trauma is really a journey into our deepest core where we often find that the thoughts and beliefs we have had all our lives are not really true. And here-in lies the golden opportunity for growth. We can re-emerge stronger, better and more compassionate human beings. We can re-define ourselves in the image we want.
Create a new person, the one you want to be. Listen to new music, try new experiences, learn new philosophies, meet new people , experiment with new ways to express yourself. The world can open up to you if you open up to it.
Choose Words Wisely
Every word we speak out and every thought we think inside is a formula for a chemical reaction in our body. They act as commands to the external energetic field and our internal environment. They inform our personal realities, they inform our personalities as Jo Dispenza so beautifully puts it.
We have spend so long talking negatively to ourselves that it is inevitable that we find ourselves in cycles of despair and repeated patterns of bad choices and “bad luck”.
To really change our self-beliefs and allow our thoughts to truly influence our inner and outer fields of existance we must FEEL. Really feel the emotions of love, appreciation, gratitude and care. For others but also importantly for ourselves . We must learn to bring these nourishing emotions into our daily lives like little vitamin drops…vital to thee vitality of life.
Many ways to do this and so simple it makes me cry!
- Be in nature
- Do something that you enjoy, something just for pleasure
- Be playful…do something without a goal or condition attached..just for fun.
- Be in company that feels genuinely good
- Learn to FEEL the feelings of love and gratitude and sit with them, allowing them to bathe every cell in the body
Giving to others
What are your habits and reflections? Is there anything you could share. I know that sharing openly has changed my life and I have been able to be of help to others. We are all connected so deeply its astounding. Just by sharing our thoughts and emotions we can affect the collective consciousness and change our world!